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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Flying with Air Canada

    Hi... after seeing the more general threads about getting charged/not charged by various airlines, I looked up Air Canada's policy and found the following:
    Bicycles are accepted on a space available basis only and should be pre-registered at time of booking. Each bicycle counts as one piece of baggage towards the maximum number of checked bags allowed by your fare type.

    Waivers/Charges

    No oversize charge applies to bicycles.

    Bicycles are subject to a $50 CAD/USD handling charge (plus applicable taxes) for carriage on Air Canada and Air Canada Express (operated by Jazz only). The handling charge applies to one-way flights and for each way of travel on round-trip and multi-segment flights.

    A single fixed handling charge is waived for Latitude and Executive fare customers for travel within Canada, and between Canada and the US. Additional checked baggage rules still apply.

    If your baggage count (bicycle + number of bags to be checked) exceeds the maximum number of items allowed by your fare type, additional checked baggage charges will apply, in addition to the fixed handling charge.

    Packing instructions

    The bicycle must be placed - with handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed - in a rigid and/or hard shell container specifically designed for shipping or in a bicycle suitcase (in the case of collapsible bicycles).

    If otherwise packaged, the bicycle may be refused for carriage. Air Canada is not liable if and to the extent that any damage results from the inherent defect, quality or vice of the baggage.

    So, Air Canada seems to split the difference: they won't charge you an outrageous oversize fee, but will charge you something, even if it is a collapsible bike and fits into a regular luggage sized container.

    Anybody with experiences with Air Canada? I'm flying with them twice this summer.

  2. #2
    Senior Member tourer78's Avatar
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    I flew air canada from anchorage to vancouver last summer with two bike fridays in their travelcases. Was never asked what was inside and wasnt charged any bike fees. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Thanks... were the travelcases "bicycle specific" or did they just look like regular luggage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Thanks... were the travelcases "bicycle specific" or did they just look like regular luggage?
    tourer78 was lucky last year, cause beginning of last year after September 7th,2011, Air Canada began charging $25 for 1st checked baggage on US bound flights. The only airline that does not charge for 1st checked baggage is WestJet. If you fly domestically within Canada, you have free 1st checked baggage.

    The $50 fee applies to bikes that are in bigger cases like the BIKND Helium case, Thule or in bike boxes. It does not apply to baggage meeting the 62" linear inches and look like normal suitcases. Exceptions will be towards odd looking cases like the 26x26x10 suitcase for S&S coupler bikes or the squarish Brompton specific cases because they don't remotely look like a Samsonite or a Delsey. Unlike Westjet, Air Canada does enforce this rule quite strictly. If you have odd size cases, bring a tape measure and be ready to contest as my friend did with his wife last year with their S&S coupler bikes.

    It is important to keep your weight down to 50lbs or less for your 1st checked baggage and do not lock your suitcase for ease of access by the TSA agent for inspection. They are just not as smart as you think using a special TSA key to open your TSA approved lock on your baggage.

    As,of today, if you are USA bound, you will have to pay $25 for 1st checked baggage (your bike) and then your clothes on the carry on. If you fly domestically, it is free. Use carryon to save on 2nd checked luggage.
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-25-12 at 08:34 AM.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Shoot. I bought the soft-sided, odd-looking Brompton cases. And yes, I believe AC would enforce the rules. Ah... guess I better take a look for some inexpensive hard cases that fit the Bromptons but still could qualify as checked luggage.

    Any specific suggestions on make and model?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Shoot. I bought the soft-sided, odd-looking Brompton cases. And yes, I believe AC would enforce the rules. Ah... guess I better take a look for some inexpensive hard cases that fit the Bromptons but still could qualify as checked luggage.

    Any specific suggestions on make and model?
    With the labour dispute they are having right now, they might have supervisors or managers working the counters at any one time, so it's an extra pain to fly with them and they are probably not in the best mood.
    The odd-looking Brompton should be ok as long as the dimensions meet 62". Grab a tape measure now and measure the longish edges of the case and then see if it meets the regulation. Do not use Brompton's measurements as airlines like to measure the fattest part or the longest part of the case (most cases are tapered in some places these days) If it does, then if you contest with them at the check in counter (hopefully you don't have to), their tape measure will say the same. Bring a tape measure yourself just in case they misplace theirs!

    If you want to buy a hard case, there's really very few cases that fit a Brompton M6L (no rack). And that's my Delsey 31" and that's slightly breaking airline regulation at the fattest and tallest part of the case at the bottom end which allows me to just fit the the M6L or M3L without taking it apart. So far no airlines had ever whip out a tape measure to check its dimensions because it looks like a normal suitcase. For M6R or M3R, you will need to take the rack off to fit in this case plus your helmet and shoes fit right in. I bought the Delsey in the hopes that someday I might get a Brompton. In the meantime, it's used for travel with either of my Dahons. So, it's multi-purpose. Here's the photo of it though the article mentioned 29", mine is a slightly larger 31"

    http://utilitycyclist.blogspot.ca/20...o-airline.html

    Now's the sad news. This type of case is no longer sold and as with any hard cases, they are shrinking even more to fit ever more stringent airline regulations. I was able to buy this case on closeout in a Las Vegas baggage store as they had it sitting there collecting dust next to the Rimowa 32" (talk about super expensive tough as nails case). I was so happy when the store manager decided to get rid of this pink case to me for $90! She thanked for me for buying the case and gave me some goodies to go with it. Errr -- I thank her for selling such a great case to me for cheaper than I can get with the new Tern Mini Airporter! Plus it's bigger being 31" as opposed to the article's 29".
    By the way, the Samsonite Flite 31" that works with the Bike Friday will not fit your Brompton as it is tapered at the top end.
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-25-12 at 09:07 AM.
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  7. #7
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    If you check in online with Air Canada the form asks if you are taking a bicycle. If you check in at the airport and they see a large regular-looking suitcase they don't ask. They weigh it and put it on the belt. It means a longer line and a longer wait at the airport, but it also means it just goes through.

    (That is my experience from a year or so ago, before Air Canada started charging for every item of baggage. This year I flew WestJet to Florida, and both check-in woman and the US customs official were curious about the whole concept of a bicycle that fitted inside a regular suitcase. Confusingly, the case weighed in at 45 pounds on the way out, and 51 pounds on the way back, with almost exactly the same stuff inside it. They didn't charge excess baggage on the way back, although they presumably had the right to do so.)
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Ah, I see I'm going to drive my wife crazy with this... I did come across this, and according to the measurements, it should work because it's billed as a "wide body" and is still under 62" linear inches, but it's awfully expensive.

    http://shop.heys.ca/ProductDetails.a...e=Viking_Elite

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
    If you check in online with Air Canada the form asks if you are taking a bicycle. If you check in at the airport and they see a large regular-looking suitcase they don't ask. They weigh it and put it on the belt. It means a longer line and a longer wait at the airport, but it also means it just goes through.

    (That is my experience from a year or so ago, before Air Canada started charging for every item of baggage. This year I flew WestJet to Florida, and both check-in woman and the US customs official were curious about the whole concept of a bicycle that fitted inside a regular suitcase. Confusingly, the case weighed in at 45 pounds on the way out, and 51 pounds on the way back, with almost exactly the same stuff inside it. They didn't charge excess baggage on the way back, although they presumably had the right to do so.)
    Airline scales are about + 5lbs offset I found, never on the minus side I was hoping.. WestJet is "always" nice to bikes and am not too surprised that they didn't charge you excess baggage on the way back. My friend bought a brand new carbon bike last year and a big Performance race bike case and never got charged excess baggage and it is obvious the case is huge plus his own other big bags which he paid only 2nd and 3rd check-in. Our other friends however were not so lucky with Air Canada. Which is why, we are always flying WestJet from now on to US destinations!
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Ah, I see I'm going to drive my wife crazy with this... I did come across this, and according to the measurements, it should work because it's billed as a "wide body" and is still under 62" linear inches, but it's awfully expensive.

    http://shop.heys.ca/ProductDetails.a...e=Viking_Elite
    Don't worry about the Brompton soft case. Measure it and if it meets airline regulation, you pay nothing flying within Canada or $25 to US destinations. You just have to declare it as bike parts or M.A.D (Mobility Assist Device). Do not utter the word "bicycle" to AC employees and you'll be fine. You are not lying to the counter as it is true that your Brompton is a MAD or a sum of bike parts when folded! If you get charged $50, so be it. Choose WestJet next time.
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  11. #11
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    Wow! Methinks you are overanalyzing things. Just find something that will fit the bike and shove it in.

    I'm going to be picking up a small folder for trips around North America this year. I'm either going to throw it in a 5 dollar Ikea Dimpa bag with cardboard, foam and bubble wrap or a 5 dollar suitcase from the goodwill.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Ah, I see I'm going to drive my wife crazy with this... I did come across this, and according to the measurements, it should work because it's billed as a "wide body" and is still under 62" linear inches, but it's awfully expensive.

    http://shop.heys.ca/ProductDetails.a...e=Viking_Elite

  12. #12
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    Ditto. I can't wait for my next trip to Ikea. I put the Dimpa on my Ikea shopping list once I discovered that they are a perfect fit!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purpleorchid View Post
    Ditto. I can't wait for my next trip to Ikea. I put the Dimpa on my Ikea shopping list once I discovered that they are a perfect fit!
    If you guys are flying occasionally, then it's probably better to put in a box. Also, TSA officers will inspect bikes, so they will do their best to undo your best efforts to pack and protect your bikes because they will never pack the bike properly like before. Then it goes through the Gorilla Zoo of nasty baggage handlers and then hope it doesn't get damaged. Especially with the labor dispute Air Canada is having now with the unions, people may not play nice during any labor conflicts! With my hard case, I have packing instructions with photos to help TSA officers pack my bike back properly. But at one time, they didn't pack the bike properly and bent my Kinetix Pro rear wheel paired spokes and got it out of true. Some airports do allow you to witness the TSA inspection and you may verbally assist them to repack the bike into the box or case. I never had this done, but my friends told me that they had this experience. Some airports won't.

    Unlike a decade or two ago, things have changed for the worst especially after 911. As I said earlier, if you fly infrequently, a bike box is fine or even a cheap bag with lots of packing materials. If you fly frequently and bring your bike on flights two to 5 times a year, you will need a hard case just to be on the safe side. Last year's trip to Arizona, a friend of ours brought their Trek Madones (the 6 series) and one of them got damaged even boxed. Problem, it got inspected by TSA official and wasn't put back properly enough and the rear triangle got warped. Imagine you can't even stick your rear wheel and realize the frustration. Claiming bike damage is always very tricky as airlines always claim that if you don't declare it then you're liable for the damage, but if it got TSA inspected, then TSA is liable. But good luck in getting them to pay for the damage then.

    Btw, even with my best efforts packing the Dahon in my hard case, TSA officials sometimes get it wrong packing it back. So far, my lattice latch assembly on the Dahon is slightly damaged (scratched and bent) I suspect of them trying to force the bike in back into the case and the rear derailleur hanger (even detached) was slightly bent. Thankfully, ThorUSA have spare parts available -- just that I haven't needed to buy them yet. I travel quite often btw.
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-25-12 at 12:29 PM.
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  14. #14
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    I guess I've been lucky with packed bikes (boxes) and even a bare bike in an airline provided plastic bag. They did lose it for 1.5 days however...Derailleur bikes do have me concerned as to bending. I plan to throw the bike into the luggage section of highway cruiser buses for instance where things move around more. You present some good things to consider, especially with inspections.

    The OP benefits from the Brompton shielding the more delicate bits. I think in this case I'd go with an inexpensive medium sized suitcase and then fashion a go-no-go foam insert. I've had good success transporting camera gear that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    If you guys are flying occasionally, then it's probably better to put in a box. Also, TSA officers will inspect bikes, so they will do their best to undo your best efforts to pack and protect your bikes because they will never pack the bike properly like before. Then it goes through the Gorilla Zoo of nasty baggage handlers and then hope it doesn't get damaged. Especially with the labor dispute Air Canada is having now with the unions, people may not play nice during any labor conflicts! With my hard case, I have packing instructions with photos to help TSA officers pack my bike back properly. But at one time, they didn't pack the bike properly and bent my Kinetix Pro rear wheel paired spokes and got it out of true. Some airports do allow you to witness the TSA inspection and you may verbally assist them to repack the bike into the box or case. I never had this done, but my friends told me that they had this experience. Some airports won't.

    Unlike a decade or two ago, things have changed for the worst especially after 911. As I said earlier, if you fly infrequently, a bike box is fine or even a cheap bag with lots of packing materials. If you fly frequently and bring your bike on flights two to 5 times a year, you will need a hard case just to be on the safe side. Last year's trip to Arizona, a friend of ours brought their Trek Madones (the 6 series) and one of them got damaged even boxed. Problem, it got inspected by TSA official and wasn't put back properly enough and the rear triangle got warped. Imagine you can't even stick your rear wheel and realize the frustration. Claiming bike damage is always very tricky as airlines always claim that if you don't declare it then you're liable for the damage, but if it got TSA inspected, then TSA is liable. But good luck in getting them to pay for the damage then.

    Btw, even with my best efforts packing the Dahon in my hard case, TSA officials sometimes get it wrong packing it back. So far, my lattice latch assembly on the Dahon is slightly damaged (scratched and bent) I suspect of them trying to force the bike in back into the case and the rear derailleur hanger (even detached) was slightly bent. Thankfully, ThorUSA have spare parts available -- just that I haven't needed to buy them yet. I travel quite often btw.

  15. #15
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    The Dimpa bag for me would be for either trunk use or the saddle bag type use (where a place would need me to the put the bike into a bag before bringing into an establishment).
    Last edited by Purpleorchid; 04-25-12 at 04:33 PM.
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    ccmfolder,

    If your folder is IGH based, then you may be able to get away with some sort of soft bag. Greyhound Canada needs the bike boxed before it goes into their carriage. My setup involves the Burley Travoy, a folding trailer, that can hold my suitcase with straps that holds my backpack during transport. Then when I'm at the depot, I take out the backpack and just put the bike into the case with minimal take off with padded derailleur hanger for protection. Fold the trailer up with wheels the size of a brief case and weighs very little. Then off I go into the bus.
    If I do this a lot more which I think I will if Groupon gets going by giving me more bus deals, I'll convert my Speed Uno then to a 5 speed with the idea from Bruce Metras as 5 speed is more appreciative towing a heavy trailer behind than just with 1. And the Speed frame folds more compact and I prefer the IGH hub rather than derailleur cause there will be no bending!
    The Burley Travoy can also be used with all other folders as well. Not just Dahon.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    What is the "dimpa" bag from Ikea?

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    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    And a demo of the Brompton and a Dimpa bag: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVmQBHwHwSQ
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Ah... I can see using the Dimpa bag for light use. I'm a bit skeptical it would hold up in rough handling when flying or shipping...

  21. #21
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    Yeah, I wouldn't use the Dimpa for flying/shipping. I'm too OCD about my stuff, it would only be a hard case for my Brompton for sure! But the Dimpa is perfect for storage/concealment/etc. Although I think the bag might be noisy, especially if it's made of the same material as their yellow/blue shopping bags.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    "I'm too OCD about my stuff"

    Don't forget to replace the air in the tyres with nitrogen. If it's good enough for the aircraft tyres, it's good for you too. See the MythBusters episode about breast implants exploding in aircraft..


    One of our regulars takes a mezzo to Oztralia regularly, she shoves it into a case and pads it out with clothes. Seems to survive OK.
    Last edited by snafu21; 04-26-12 at 12:03 AM.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member tourer78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Thanks... were the travelcases "bicycle specific" or did they just look like regular luggage?

    They were the standard samsonite 31" suitcase you can buy from bike friday or any online luggage store. Slightly over the 62" height x length x width, but I found (and I took quite a few flights on that trip) that as long as the weight was under 50 lbs the airlines never seemed to care about that. Hope it all works out for you.

  24. #24
    Senior Member tourer78's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    tourer78 was lucky last year, cause beginning of last year after September 7th,2011, Air Canada began charging $25 for 1st checked baggage on US bound flights. The only airline that does not charge for 1st checked baggage is WestJet. If you fly domestically within Canada, you have free 1st checked baggage.

    The $50 fee applies to bikes that are in bigger cases like the BIKND Helium case, Thule or in bike boxes. It does not apply to baggage meeting the 62" linear inches and look like normal suitcases. Exceptions will be towards odd looking cases like the 26x26x10 suitcase for S&S coupler bikes or the squarish Brompton specific cases because they don't remotely look like a Samsonite or a Delsey. Unlike Westjet, Air Canada does enforce this rule quite strictly. If you have odd size cases, bring a tape measure and be ready to contest as my friend did with his wife last year with their S&S coupler bikes.

    It is important to keep your weight down to 50lbs or less for your 1st checked baggage and do not lock your suitcase for ease of access by the TSA agent for inspection. They are just not as smart as you think using a special TSA key to open your TSA approved lock on your baggage.

    As,of today, if you are USA bound, you will have to pay $25 for 1st checked baggage (your bike) and then your clothes on the carry on. If you fly domestically, it is free. Use carryon to save on 2nd checked luggage.

    Even though the suitcase was included in my ticket, I am aware of AC,s new rules and would have had no issue paying $25 for the suitcase, but I would have had a big problem with paying the over inflated bike fee that most of the airlines in the states and Canada seem keen on charging. Good way to keep cycle tourists from coming to the usa and Canada I suppose. This year I will take my bike (and my travelling money) to europe. See you in Greece August the 18th!!!
    Last edited by tourer78; 04-26-12 at 01:59 AM. Reason: Incorrect grammar

  25. #25
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    Don't forget to replace the air in the tyres with nitrogen. If it's good enough for the aircraft tyres, it's good for you too.
    Speaking of tire inflation, should I release some pressure prior to packing? I saw on one website that releasing about 10 psi would be a good idea (and that actually not bothering to release any pressure is probably fine too). If so, I presume the little Brompton pump is more than up to the job of reinflation.

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